One Sunday night a church member eagerly showed me a photograph he had taken on his digital camera of our church sign. I read it and said, "So? It says 'Celebrate Christmas with us.'"
He replied, "No, it doesn't. Read it again."
That's when I noticed the "R" missing from "Celebrate."
I just stared at the photo. "Does it still say that?"
"No, we already corrected it. But I'm thinking about moving my membership," he said with a smirk.
Well, he's still a member, at least for now, but that little error is a reminder that we have to watch out that we don't communicate the wrong message. Especially at Christmas.
People often talk about "the real meaning of Christmas" and then go off on subjects like "spending time with family." Now, I plan to spend time with family myself at Christmas, but that's not the real meaning of Christmas. The real meaning is that God looked down at a messed-up world, and decided to get personally involved with us human beings. He didn't just send down commands to follow. He sent a Person to follow. He didn't just tell us how to live. He showed us how to live. He did it through a baby, Jesus Christ, who went from the cradle to the cross so that we could go from the grave to heaven when we die.
That's reason to celebrate (with an "R").